–by Linda Bowyer

It’s that time of year again…Thanksgiving is right around the corner followed by “Black Friday,” (the big box stores’ sales on the day after Thanksgiving) and “Cyber Monday,” (online stores’ sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving).
But don’t forget Saturday, Nov. 24 is “Small Business Saturday,” a great day to shop local. Since 2010 American Express has promoted the Saturday after Thanksgiving as a day to encourage shoppers to spend at locally owned, independent brick-and-mortar stores.
“Buy Local” movements have picked up steam throughout the United States but the growth of big box stores and Internet shopping have affected locally owned firms. According to the Small Business Administration, there were over 29,000 new jobs in Ohio created by small businesses in 2015 alone, meaning 46 percent of all employees in the state were working for a small business that year. Since the 2009 recession, 62 percent of all private sector jobs were created by small businesses. And those small businesses re-circulate the money they bring in at rate of almost 50 percent, compared to less than 14 percent of purchases at chain stores.
According to the American Independent Business Alliance (amiba.net), having locally owned businesses in your neighborhood also has environmental benefits. Small businesses are people-sized, consuming less land, carrying more locally-made products, and are usually located closer to their customers, creating less traffic and pollution. Local charities and teams also benefit, as small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar as large businesses to non-profits and local events. A Price Waterhouse study found that people who shop at “brick and mortar” stores care as much about the shopping experience as the gifts they buy. A big advantage for small businesses!
Luckily for those in the Sylvania area, there is a myriad of small businesses from which to choose. Local shoppers can purchase almost everything they may need or want within city and township boundaries. Shoppers can purchase items from furniture to window treatments for their homes or offices. They can find fashions to suit a variety of tastes and budgets for men and women. Shoppers can also purchase shoes, baked goods, toys, books, sports items and equipment, flowers, coins, jewelry, musical instruments, computer equipment and accessories, sewing supplies, hardware, specialty foods, and much, much more in Sylvania and Sylvania Township.
The advantages of shopping local are many. First and foremost, friendly helpful service is the watchword in small, local shops where the store owner is more than likely your clerk. If you are a repeat customer, the shop owner and other staff know you by name. They also know what you like and will help you find what you are looking for, saving you time and effort. Many times, store owners and their staff will alert you when a special item arrives in the store or they will be willing to put something aside so you don’t miss out on an item you want.
In addition, shoppers do not have to wait in long lines in small, locally owned stores and parking is close by, making shops easily accessible.
Don’t forget to tell your family and friends to shop at locally owned businesses on Saturday, Nov. 24!

Dr. Linda Bowyer is Professor Emeritus of Finance and past director of the Small Business Institute, University of Toledo and board member, Resolute Bank